British Personalist Forum Conference

Last week I spoke at the British Personalist Forum’s excellent conference on British Contributions to Personalist Philosophy: Duns Scotus to the Present Day in Oriel College, Oxford. Several prominent personalists and historians of British philosophy were in attendance, and Raymond Tallis was a special guest speaker (see the programme). I read a revised version of a paper from a conference on British idealism in 2013, ‘In Defence of the Personal Idealist Conception of the Finite Self’, with an added extensive, informal introduction.

I want to congratulate Richard Allen, Alan Ford, Simon Smith and my other friends in the BPA for this major success and step forward in the development of their group and its important scholarly events. This is how they described the aims of their conference:

“Although John Grote (Knightsbridge Professor of Philosophy at Cambridge) in 1865 named his own philosophy ‘personalism’, hardly any other British philosophers have been designated, by themselves or others, as ‘personalists’, save perhaps for the ‘Personal Idealists’ of c. 1885-1920.

Nevertheless some have focused upon personal existence and the freedom, responsibility and dignity of the individual person who is also a person in relation to other persons, and other philosophers have at least dealt with one or more aspects of distinctively personal existence,  and have done so in terms, concepts and categories truly appropriate to persons as distinct from ones applicable only to sub-personal or impersonal entities or those of merely formal logic.

The aim of this conference is to bring to wider notice those British philosophers who have made such contributions to personalist philosophy, not only to amend the historical record which has often neglected them, but also to suggest why they are worth reading today.”

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